- Easy-to-use interface on both desktop and mobile app versions
- 1% flat fee charged on Bitcoin buy and sell transactions
- Swipe debit card allows easy payment or cash withdrawals from account
- Several fiat currencies supported
- Bitcoin exchange rate set by weighted average of all main exchanges
- Strong security including SMS verification
- Bitcoin only cryptocurrency currently supported by CoinJar
- Bank transfers only possible from Australian bank accounts
- Account required to send money or Bitcoin to CoinJar account holder
- English-language only interface and customer support
CoinJar is Australia’s leading Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies exchange and online management platform. The company has, however, recently moved its international HQ to London as it continues its international expansion. The company describes itself as a ‘personal finance company’ but its core service is to facilitate account holders in easily buying, selling and trading Bitcoin.
CoinJar’s main USP is allowing account holders to move smoothly between fiat and digital currencies held on account. Pre-paid CoinJar debit cards mean users can pay for goods and services in Bitcoin, with funds automatically converted into supported fiat currencies at the point of the transaction.
Backed by venture capital in the shape of investors AngelCube and Blackbird Ventures, Coinjar’s well designed site and service has some very serious knowhow behind it. The company was founded in 2013, in Melbourne by co-founders CEO Asher Tan and COO Ryan Zhou and in 2016 was chosen as one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s 13 Australian start-ups to watch. The company’s boast is that it is the fastest way to access Bitcoin and fiat currencies from anywhere globally.
The CoinJar exchange platform is much more user friendly than many cryptocurrency exchanges and is easily accessible. It looks and feels more like a modern currency transfer service of the TransferWise variety than a financial exchange.
New users must first set up an account, which is a process that is more like opening a bank account than is the case with many cryptocurrency exchanges. A copy of photographic ID is required as is proof of address and details on previous addresses. While those who strongly value the anonymity that is integral to many Bitcoin wallets and exchanges may not be happy about this, more mainstream users will more likely be comforted that CoinJar operates more like a mainstream financial services company.
Once supporting documentation has been approved and an account activated, buying and selling Bitcoin through CoinJar is refreshingly simple. Account holders have a Bitcoin wallet and Cash wallet, that is broken down into the different base currencies accepted, such as US dollars, British pounds, Australian dollars, euros and yen. To buy Bitcoin, the account holder simply asks for a quote in a currency they have funds in and is provided with an offer. CoinJar’s Bitcoin exchange rate is set by the company’s ‘CoinJar Fair Rate’ which is a volume weighted average price from the major exchanges. A 1% flat fee is charged for the buying and selling of Bitcoin through a CoinJar account.
The exchange also offers account holders the option to hedge their Bitcoin holdings in fiat currencies. This guarantees the value of the Bitcoin in the selected fiat currency for a set period of time and helps protect against the cryptocurrency’s high volatility.
CoinJar also allows account holders to transfer fiat currencies or Bitcoin free of charge between each other. Payments can also be made and received from external Bitcoin wallet addresses but are then charged a transaction fee, which will vary depending on current Bitcoin blockchain conditions.
Australian users can also make payments from their CoinJar account to any retailer or service provider that accepts debit and credit card payments using the company’s ‘Swipe’ debit card. The card works like any debit card, and automatically converts Bitcoin into the local currency where the card is being used. It can also be used to make cash withdrawals from ATMs.
The CoinJar mobile app, which is available in both Android and iOS, is called ‘Touch’. The app is simple to use and provides all of the functionality of the desktop version of service on the go. It also allows users to generate and scan QR codes for the sending and receiving of Bitcoin payments.
For now, Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency supported by the CoinJar exchange, transfer, payments and wallet service. The company will introduce Litecoin support in the near future and is currently beta testing Litecoin wallets with a limited number of current users and will presumably fully roll-out Litecoin support in early 2018. CoinJar also states that it would like to support a variety of different cryptocurrencies but will be very careful in adding these in order to not compromise the quality and security of the service.
As well as Bitcoin, CoinJar accounts also support several fiat currencies, including the U.S. dollar, pound sterling, euros, Australian dollar and the yen.
CoinJar support consists of a fairly detailed online resource that explains to users how to use the platform’s functions and clearly details any fees or other relevant details connected to use of the account. For users that need personal assistance a customer service agent can be contacted, though only between 08:00 and 16:00 Melbourne time. This is a little strange for a company with their HQ in London and trying to position itself as a global company. Support is also only currently available in English.
Security and Fairness
CoinJar takes account security very seriously and positions itself as a leader in this area. One of the main reasons the exchange and wallet services have been so slow to add other cryptocurrencies put down in large part to ensuring security standards are maintained. Two-factor authentication for all Bitcoin transfers is recommended and SMS verification is an additional level of security many other exchanges lack. Any time a user logs in to their account they must enter a security code sent to their registered mobile device.